Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

The importance of reading to children from birth

17th June 2019

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We’re delighted to have a guest blog from Rhiannon Findlay, Commissioning Editor of Ladybird Books, who explains why it’s so important to read to children from birth.

Should I read to my baby? Is it worth it? Will it actually help?

If you’ve ever wondered about any of the above, you’re not alone. The answer to all of those questions is a resounding YES! Reading to your baby is key to developing language and communication skills. It’s crucial to emotional development. It’s also a perfect opportunity to share some cuddles and quality time! From black-and-white cloth books to touch-and-feel board books, there are so many wonderful ways to engage your baby, stimulate their senses, encourage interaction and prompt their first words.

It may sound obvious, but when reading to babies from birth it’s important to remember you’re not teaching them to read. Children learn to talk long before they learn to read, and sharing books out loud with your baby is a brilliant way to help them pick up language – as well as being one of the most enjoyable.

Baby and pre-school books are carefully designed with the different stages of child development in mind. Black-and-white books are a perfect choice for newborns, as they support developing eyesight: babies see only black, white and grey during their first three months. Their focus is also a little blurry, so bold patterns or simple images with clean outlines often work best. As the months go by, your baby will start to see high-contrast colours such as yellow and red, and their visual focus will begin to stabilise. By twelve months, they will be able to see in full colour and fix their eyes on objects.

As your child’s vision improves, you will notice them becoming more and more responsive to what they see on the page. First concepts such as words, numbers, colours, shapes and opposites can all be explored out loud with your baby through bright, colourful and engaging board books, and the association between words and pictures plays an influential part in their basic learning. Touch-and-feel books are perfect for sensory development and co-ordination, while lift-the-flap, hide-and-seek or peekaboo options are ideal for children from five months plus who have begun to recognise objects and develop curiosity. Picture books are a wonderful choice particularly for bedtime, when you can snuggle up and enjoy some treasured time together; not only does this reinforce routine, but many picture books also help children to understand emotions and behaviour, as well as supporting their literacy and helping to instil a lifelong love of reading.

It’s best to read to babies little and often. Their attention spans are still developing, so try reading for up to ten minutes at a time. Repeating favourite books is a great way of reinforcing the language they hear and aiding recognition. Talk about the pictures, give your baby the opportunity to respond, and encourage any noises, babbles or gurgles! Positive communication is instrumental to your child’s happiness and confidence and will help them develop future relationships at nursery, school and in later life.

If you'd like some inspiration for books to read to babies, check out the recommended Ladybird titles below:

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Faces: Baby Touch First Focus

Baby Touch First Focus: Faces is part of Ladybird's best-selling Baby Touch range. 

It contains a range of bright, happy characters and faces in high-contrast black, white and yellow colours to help stimulate a baby's developing eyesight from birth. There is also a mirror at the end for babies to smile at their own reflection.

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Baby Touch: Peekaboo

A brilliant lift-the-flap book from the Ladybird Baby Touch series.

Babies and toddlers will love this original tactile playbook from the innovative Baby Touch range. Have fun touching the different textures and playing peekaboo with the large flaps. The bright and bold illustrations are perfect for baby to enjoy.

Ladybird's Baby Touch series is the perfect way to introduce babies to books, and to the world around them. Encouraging interaction and play, these books are lots of fun for the very youngest babies, as well as toddlers.

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Little World: In the City: A push-and-pull adventure

Introducing the interactive  Little World series from Ladybird that makes our big world little.  

Little World  is designed for curious toddlers, allowing them to explore familiar landscapes and faraway places, from cities and jungles to outer space and the depths of the ocean.

The gentle narrative is perfect for reading aloud and guiding children on their city adventure, and a novelty slide, push or pull on every spread also helps them to engage and explore.

 Allison Black's bright artwork and charming characters encourage interaction and play, with lots to spot, see and enjoy on every spread.

This series has been created in collaboration with subject experts to produce accurate representations of the world around us and to provide a perfectly designed Little World.


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Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Unicorn

The perfect bedtime book to calm your own sleepy unicorns!

Full of magic, sparkle and rainbows (and one naughty unicorn), little readers will love this calming tale before bed.

It's bedtime, but one lively little unicorn can't quite settle down and go to sleep! As her dad counts down the minutes to bed, what mischief can she get up to?

Finishing on a gentle end, it's the perfect bedtime tale.

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